OPINION | Sanders triumphs over Trump in healthcare's battle of ideas
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Yellen touts 'whole-of-economy' plan to fight climate change | Senate GOP adopts symbolic earmark ban, digs in on debt limit GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package MORE (I-Vt.) has defeated President Trump and his allies in Congress by a landslide in the battle of ideas over healthcare in America. Various GOP healthcare proposals offered by Republicans in 2017 are all destined to suffer an ignominious defeat.

They are so horrendous, so destructive to the interests of so many Americans, so strongly opposed by so many groups representing major players in the healthcare system and so widely and intensely disliked by so many voters, that they will not become law in any form close to what is currently on the table in Congress.

The Sanders vision of healthcare, which is to enact a Medicare for all system, is far more popular with voters than TrumpCare, RyanCare and the latest version of the ill-fated McConnell plan.


Similarly, it should be noted that having been the only major candidate in either party to champion single-payer healthcare throughout the 2016 primaries, Sanders succeeded at the Democratic National Convention in winning Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' Cuba readies for life without Castro Chelsea Clinton: Pics of Trump getting vaccinated would help him 'claim credit' MORE's support for a platform stating that healthcare is a right for all Americans and a public option should be enacted to make that right the law of the land.


While the Sanders position had triumphed within the Democratic party by convention time, his position has won the battle of ideas with Trump and Republicans since then. If any of the pending Republican healthcare plans are enacted into law, they are so unpopular they could well contribute to a Democratic landslide in the 2018 midterms, which is why they will almost certainly fall.

During the July 4 recess, it was strange to watch many Republican members of the House and Senate trying almost desperately to avoid meeting constituents in public town halls where they would have to answer questions from unhappy voters who are angry, frightened and alarmed by the pending GOP healthcare plans.

Let's give great credit to Sanders. He correctly championed the cause of single-payer for many years and throughout the Democratic primaries in 2016. He continues his battle in the current Congress and will not relent until some form of single-payer is enacted into law.

Let's also give great credit to the many other Democrats and progressive groups, such as the Sanders-affiliated Our Revolution, that stand tall in favor of guaranteeing Americans affordable healthcare through a Medicare for all plan.

Sanders and other supporters are absolutely right when they note that democratic nations around the world have single-payer systems. They are absolutely right when they note that these single-payer programs throughout the democratic world are very popular with voters and very successful in practice.

Consider that throughout the long list of democratic nations that have enacted single-payer healthcare, even the conservative parties in those nations fully support the continuation of those systems and do not advocate repealing them. Even most conservative voters in those nations support them as well, and would oppose repealing them.

Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections and Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential campaign would be well-advised to wholeheartedly support Medicare for all.

For practical purposes, the battle of ideas about healthcare in America has ended. Bernie Sanders and the long list of progressives who support Medicare for all have won the battle of ideas against Trump and Republicans by a landslide.

We progressives are confident that on healthcare, the left is right, the right is wrong and the future is clear.  Some form of Medicare for all is the wave of the future for America, and the only questions are when it happens and how many Republicans will lose elections until it happens.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics.

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